I love to write about great examples of combining technology and direct mail and today is no different. I got a mailer from Acura that boasted an “Interactive Preview” on the full-color, large envelope. So I opened it. Inside were several stock-quality inserts, one of which was personalized and variably-printed and included instructions for downloading an app to access the rest of the mailer. So I did.

Inside were different views of the car. Well, with the app, it recognized the images from the mailer and offered several different options. From scanning the picture above, it whisked me away to a 360-degree view of the interior, that I could pinch and rotate on my smartphone. Cool stuff. Not everything from the mailer was scannable, but as I flipped through looking for the icon app to scan my next experience, I saw and read about many features of the car. I eventually scanned another section (below) and it took me to a product video (still hosted within the app) that engaged me with the piece for a little while longer.

There are many great examples of technology with direct mail popping up everywhere, but this example stuck with me for several reasons:

It truly was a multichannel experience – the mail was attractive, it used my smartphone, so I had another tangible element in the mix, and it used video and augmented reality (sort of).

It urged me to explore the entire piece – Although there were only two things to scan on the piece, I searched for more, and ended up seeing the entire mailing. This sort of mail treasure hunt should be used more often.

It was shareable – After i finished with this piece, I let a co-worker borrow it. “How cool is this, Rick?” The best direct mail pieces are keepsakes and things that have a shelf life far beyond the first read.

What I would have liked to see was a code to scan to register for a test drive, or providing directions to the local dealership. Something with a conversion in mind, but overall, this mailing was a homerun. These principals apply FAR beyond automotive dealer solutions. None of the elements were that far-fetched, but the execution and the experience made it all come together so well.